New Brunswick

Inner-city pasture poised to become subdivisions

The owners of Neill's farm in the middle of Fredericton plan to sell about 40.5 hectares of land to make way for a housing development.

The owners of Neill's farm in the middle of Fredericton plan to sell about40.5 hectaresof land to make way for a housing development.

New Brunswick's capital city grew up around the Neill family farm —a rolling pastoral presence complete with grazing cows and large barns thatis nowsurrounded by rows and rows of residential streets.

Thelarge dairy farmis in the heart of the city's north side, and housing developers have been eyeing it for years.

Ron Neill and his brother Albert are the fourth – and the last – generation towork thefarm.

At 79, Ron Neill admits he's thinking about retirement.With no family willing tokeep farming,selling the property to make room for housing is inevitable.

"I've got children, Albert's got children, none of them are interested in farming," he said. "So, ground like this size, in the middle of the city, no, [it] can't last."

The Neills have already given up a strip along their back pasture to make way for a city streetto provide access to aplanned municipal fire station.The sale was formalized Tuesday night at a city council meeting.

Coun. Michael O'Brien is chairman of the city's development committee and envisions much more development in the neighbourhood.

"You just watch that land take off. That entire northeast quadrant of the Fredericton north, during the next 10 years, will be filled in."

The Neills have been in talks with a developer but haven't made any final plans on when and how their land will be sold.